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Report: Rovers 1-0 Luton Town

It's another late show at Ewood Park thanks to Adam Armstrong's header against the Hatters

30 January 2021

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A dramatic header from Adam Armstrong provided a vital three points for Rovers against a stubborn Luton Town at Ewood Park.

The striker, as he has been so many times this term, was in the right place at the right time to send a bullet header into the back of the net for his 18th goal of the season.

It was probably just about deserved for Rovers, who grew stronger as the game went on against the Hatters.

The offside flag prevented Harry Cornick from scoring what would have been a late equaliser, but Rovers now have ten points from their last four games and three clean sheets in their last four games.

The boss made two changes to his starting XI for the encounter, with Jacob Davenport and Bradley Johnson being kept out through injury.

That meant a first start for Stewart Downing this season in the league, with the experienced midfielder making the 750th appearance of his stellar career for club and country.

A slight re-jig to the team saw Ben Brereton return to the left wing, with Joe Rothwell moving into central midfield.

Rovers started the game brightly with what looked a new formation that saw Rothwell and Harvey Elliott tucking in from their flanks, with Brereton starting in a more central role alongside Armstrong.

Armstrong had a chance just two minutes into the encounter, but the ball didn't drop kindly enough for the frontman and Tom Lockyer was back in the nick of time to stop the 23-year-old with just Simon Sluga to beat.

That was to be the only real chance for either side in a first half that was more of a midfield battle than a 45 minutes full of opportunities.

Rovers started the second half as they began the first, with Armstrong smashing a left-footed effort towards goal that Sluga dealt with well.

At the other end, the dangerous Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall sent a free kick comfortably over Thomas Kaminski's upright just five minutes into the second half.

Rovers made a quadruple change on the hour, and all four were involved in the next opportunity soon after.

Bradley Dack won the ball back, Sam Gallagher sent in a low cross, and after a clearance fell the way to Lewis Holtby, he flicked the ball towards Tyrhys Dolan, whose strike took a deflection before flying over the bar.

Dewsbury-Hall was Town's dangerman and he forced Kaminski into a smart save down low as the clock ticked to 83 minutes.

Time was running out for both sides to find a winner, but quick-thinking from Holtby saw his ball in headed back across goal by Gallagher and Armstrong was there to nod home from close range.

There was to be more drama late on when Barry Douglas somehow hacked off the line and Cornick thumped home, but the flag was up for offside in the final opportunity of the game.

Rovers: Kaminski, Nyambe, Lenihan (c), Branthwaite, Douglas, Rothwell (Dolan, 60), Travis, Downing (Holtby, 60), Elliott (Dack, 60), Brereton (Gallagher, 60), Armstrong.

Unused substitutes: Pears, Buckley, Evans, Bennett, Magloire.

Goal: Armstrong, 86.

Booked: Travis, 50, Armstrong, 90.

Luton Town: Sluga, Potts, Bradley, Pearson (Cranie, 72), Cornick, Lockyer, Rea (Nombe, 88), Mpanzu, Clark (Naismith, 88), Collins (Hylton, 64), Dewsbury-Hall.

Unused substitutes: Shea, Berry, Moncur, LuaLua, Morrell.

Booked: Rea, 63

Referee: Jeremy Simpson.

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